Tim and Kobe 2
Things have been awkward ever since
Kobe found out he's not in Tim's five...

I've been sitting on this one for a while. It's from the 10 Sense with...Tim Duncan interview that appeared in the February issue of Dime Magazine. Duncan was asked which starting five, out of anybody in the NBA, he'd choose to go to war with. His answer is pretty interesting:

"My ideal starting five? Honestly, the five that Adidas put together, you can't argue with that at all. KG, T-Mac, Gilbert, Chauncy and myself. You can't argue with that five compared to anyone else. As a sixth man, I might add Kobe. Or, shit, even put Manu in there with us."

Now, Tim Duncan is the greatest winner of the last decade and the co-most dominant player alongside Shaq (although it could be argued that Shaq hasn't been truly dominant since 2004-05). And it's not just the winning, but how he's won: Four titles in nine years, while his team has changed drastically around him. The fact is, he plays "team basketball" better than probably anyone in the league (which I think is why he's so dominant without really looking dominant).

And he wouldn't want Kobe Bryant, the so-called "best player" in the league, in his starting five.

I don't know. Maybe it's not that big of an insult. After all, he left out a lot of other really good players, guys like Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Shaq, etc. And he was also plugging for Adidas, the company that pays him a lot of money to endorse their products.

But the fact that he relegated Kobe to the sixth man role, then casually replaced him with Manu Ginobili was like a backhanded insult. I mean, think about it: "I don't want you starting, but you can be sixth man. Oh, wait, no you can't...I'll take this other guy instead." Why would Tim say that? Well, maybe it has to do with one of his follow-up statements:

"I'd say 60-70 percent don't 'get it' -- players who play for the wrong reasons or teams playing the wrong way. It's those few teams that 'get it' that elevate themselves."

Maybe that's it. Maybe he, like many other people, thinks Kobe just doesn't "get it." Whatever the reason, I still got a good laugh out of it. Thanks, Tim.

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8 Comments:
Anonymous padraig said...
I think it's probably just an Adidas* plug (I mean, Chauncey's good, but over Kidd or Nash or even Chris Paul? and T-Mac or Gilbert over LeBron and/or Wade?) but I can see how KB's game would suffer on a team w/TD. Generally I think Kobe is more misunderstood than anything else-like, it's not that he doesn't "get it" on the court, it's that he doesn't get it about how conduct successful PR campaigns-but he is a volume shooter with a career FG of 45% who's most effective dominating the ball. Not that any of this matters, but it's fun to think about. I think your point about why Tim dominates without looking dominant is spot-on; I'd say that the other factor is the overwhelming consistency, which numbs everyone to his greatness. Like, it would be an absolute shock if he DIDN'T put up 20/10 while being in the running for DPOY.

*The thought of Garnett and Tim together is the most frightening hypothetical in the NBA, at least to me. That combo would easily trump young TD/old Admiral.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
His starting 5 gets zero credibility. If he was going for individually amazing players Chauncy wouldn't be there, and if he was going for guys that have a will to win T-Mac woudln't be there, and so on...
Seems to me like he just blurted out the first thing that came to mind rather than actually thinking about it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I agree padraig. Watching Tim Duncan dominate a ballgame is totally different than watching, say, Lebron or Kobe dominate. Watching the playoffs this year was a reminder of that. Regardless of what was happening at any given time, everything that was happening on the court was happening because of Tim Duncan. His presence in the post opens up jump shots and drives for his teammates. His help defense at the rim is the ultimate bailout. He cannot be stopped by a bad shooting night. He doesn't rush anything. He doesn't get into one-on-one battles or ever feel the need to "prove" anything. You can't get into his head or deprogram him. As much as I hate watching the Spurs (in general), seeing Tim just flat out control a game is actually pretty awesome.

KG and Dunca, together. Man, that would be pretty damn interesting. Could a team go the entire season without surrendering a single layup? It might happen with those guys. Remember when Ralph Sampson and Akeem (which is how it was spelled then) Olajuwon formed the Twin Towers? I imagine it would be like that. It's a damn shame that combo got blown up by Sampson's knee...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
See, I don't think he was going for individually amazing players. I actually, in all honesty, think he was just plugging for Adidas.

BUT...it's also possible that those guys just match his style, which is a halfcourt game. I mean, that's one reason to choose Chauncy Billups over, say, Steve Nash (who is more effective for a fastbreak style). McGrady obviously has performed well in a half-court game while in Houston. Back in February, Arenas was still red-hot. And, of course, KG would be a terrific compliment, especially as PART of a system instead of being the system itself.

As for T-Mac's will to win...that's what having Tim Duncan is for. He's got as much will to win as anybody in the modern era, and he knows how to get it done.

Anonymous padraig said...
Basketbawful, I think Tim Duncan can fit with anyone's style, which is one of the biggest validations of his game. People seem to forget that TD, Tony and Manu are pretty adept at running. They're just selective and they never, ever sacrifice anything on defense to get a fast break started b/c Pop would probably shoot them on the spot if they did. Incidentally, I think Nash could run a half-court offense pretty freaking well if he had a big man of TD's caliber-I mean Tony P is basically a glorified combo guard (admittedly, with blazing speed and no fear) who manages the point pretty well with Tim.

I whole-heartedly agree with you that TD can dominate a game even when he's struggling offensively. There was one game against the Suns (2? 3?) where Kurt Thomas was really bothering Tim in the 1st half, but he was still crashing the boards and being his usual solid self. Then he came out in the 2nd half and scored like 10 straight points and that was the end of Kurt Thomas as a Duncan-stopper.

TD has been my favorite player for years (he's now co-favorites with Stephen Jackson. go figure) b/c the dude's just a joy to wach. then again I'm in probably the vast minority of nba junkies who actively enjoys quality post play.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
padraig, you're SO on the money about Parker. I've felt that way about him for a while, and he wouldn't be nearly as valuable or effective if he wasn't playing with Tim Duncan...and in Pop's system (which is always tailor-made for his personnel).

Dude, you aren't the only person who enjoys quality post play. Most people were crying in their Wheaties when Jordan retired the first time, but I was in Hoop Heaven because Hakeem Olajuwon came into his own. That guy was just automatic those two seasons. And when the Rockets added Drexler, who was always one of my favorite players, well, it was Nirvana.

I can still remember playing NBA Live '95 with my roommate. We'd always build a team around a post player -- usually Hakeem or Karl Malone -- and post up every single play.

I love watching old Celtic games from the late 80s. Talk about an inside-out team. They posted McHale, Bird, or Parish almost every time downcourt. If they would have been a little more athletic in the backcourt, and maybe had a little more depth, they could have won two or three championships in a row, easily.

Wait...Jax is your co-favorite player?? Now that's something I've never heard before. I've gotta ask how that happened.

Anonymous JITESH PATEL said...
TIM DUNCIN IS RIGHT HE DOESNT HAVE TO HAVE KOBE IN IT BUT IF HE WERE SMART HE WOULD THYE BOTH HAVE A JORDAN LIKE ZEST AND DETERMINATION TO WIN AND ON THE TOPIC OF KOBE JUST TRADE HIM HE KNOWS THAT HE WONT WIN A ANOTHER TITLE WITH LA AND THEY FOR SURE ARENT GOING TO GET KG OF J-O SO WHAT IS GOING TO CONVINCE HIM TO COME BACK TO LA? D-FISHER? HE IS A TRADER

Blogger Mendoza Raul said...
Surprised he said KG. I read somewhere that TD hates KG.

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